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If the Kansas primary election is any indication, the Kansas Legislature will be decidedly more conservative next year. And if the November general election mirrors the primary, Wichita State University political analyst Ed Flentje says Kansans can expect significant policy changes next year.
Announcer: Barring some surprises in the November elections, Kansas politics will again be led by Republicans. That's hardly new, but the direction of the Republican Party is significantly different, according to Wichita State University political analyst Ed Flentje.
Flentje: "The primary elections indicate a new direction in Kansas politics and in Kansas policy. Moderates in the Kansas Senate contested for 21 races out of 40 and they lost 15 of them."
Announcer: If the conservative Republican candidates win in the general election, Flentje said the most significant change in Kansas policy will likely be in public finance with a move to eliminate the state income tax. Flentje says that, in turn, would likely require a shift of public obligations to being financed by sales and property taxes. This is Joe Kleinsasser at Wichita State University.
Sound bite #1
Flentje explains some of the most interesting aspects of the Kansas primary election. The sound bite is 30 seconds and the outcue is "fairly low."
Flentje: "The Kansas primary elections, particularly the Republican primary elections, were the most hotly contested in the history of the state. A good bit of money flowed in to candidate campaigns. Outside groups were active in the campaign. And even with all the outside funding, turnout was fairly low."
Sound bite #2
Flentje says the general election could still result in some competitive races. The sound bite is 29 seconds and the outcue is "Republican victors."
Flentje: "Of course, the primary elections are one conclusion, but 31 of the 40 (Senate) seats will be contested by Democrats in the general election. And the outcome there is yet to be determined. Moderate Republicans, Independents, may defeat some of the Republican victors."
Sound bite #3
Flentje explains the most controversial element in Kansas politics. The sound bite is 34 seconds and the outcue is "yet to be decided."
Flentje: "The most controversial element in these races is the governor's tax plan, which was fiercely debated, and essentially has eliminated the state income tax for certain categories of persons and businesses. And whether that will miraculously succeed or not is yet to be decided."
Sound bite #4
Flentje says the most significant changes by conservative Republicans will be in public finance. The sound bite is 24 seconds and the outcue is "sales and property taxes."
Flentje: "The most significant changes will probably be in public finance. Gov. Brownback and some of the interest groups supporting him want to eliminate the state income tax. That would likely require a shift of public obligations to being financed by sales and property taxes."
Sound bite #5
Flentje says if the new tax policy works, Gov. Brownback and those supporting it will be viewed as heroes. The sound bite is 26 seconds and the outcue is "change direction again."
Flentje: "If Gov. Brownback's tax miracle succeeds, he will likely be a hero and those who support him will as well. If it does not, the impact will be felt in public schools, social services and a variety of areas that may come back to change direction again."